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Chattanooga, Tennessee: Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul & tomb of Fr Patrick Ryan

About the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Chattanooga:

It is impossible to discuss the Cathedral here without also discussing Father Patrick Ryan.  Patrick Ryan was born in 1845 near Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland. His parents were evicted from their home by a ruthless landlord and forced to emigrate. They settled in New York, where Patrick grew to young manhood.
He had great desire to be a priest and entered St. Vincent’s college, Cape Girardeau, Missouri in October, 1866. Although he was no genius, says one of his schoolmates, he was one of the soundest and most reliable students in the seminary and was noted for his common sense. He excelled in athletics, and few could equal him in hand ball.

He was ordained a priest in the summer of 1869 at the Cathedral in Nashville by Bishop P. A. Feehan. The Feehan and Ryan families were close neighbors in Ireland and possibly this was the reason young Ryan decided to join the Nashville diocese.

Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak
Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak

After his ordination, Father Ryan was appointed pastor of Clarksville and its missions. For three years the young priest faithfully ministered to the people of Clarksville, Cedar Hill, Edgefield Junction and the surrounding territory. At Gallatin he built a church, which served the congregation for many years.

Bishop Feehan transferred him to the larger city of Chattanooga on July 10, 1872. When a Yellow Fever epidemic broke out in 1878, many in the city considered themselves safe as they had avoided such epidemics in the past. he stayed with his flock and died from the disease in 1878 at the age of 33.

 

Servant of God Fr. Patrick Ryan

Exhumation and Transposition to the Basilica

As a necessary step in the Cause for Sainthood for Father Patrick Ryan, the Diocese of Knoxville and the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Chattanooga relocated the remains of Father Ryan to a new tomb at the basilica on July 31, 2021.

Father Patrick Ryan, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul’s parish from 1872 to 1878, was a shepherd who gave his life in ministering to his flock..

In the six years that he was at the parish, he enlarged the little frame church, built a rectory on Georgia Avenue and zealously tended his flock. The accomplishment for which the Chattanooga community should ever hold his name in benediction was the opening of Notre Dame academy under the direction of the Dominican Sisters.

 

In the six years that he was at the parish, Originally a little frame church, it became, under the Auspieces of Fr. Patrick Ryan, a much larger institution.

About Servant of God Fr. Patrick Ryan:

Exhumation and Transposition to the Basilica

As a necessary step in the Cause for Sainthood for Father Patrick Ryan, the Diocese of Knoxville and the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Chattanooga relocated the remains of Father Ryan to a new tomb at the basilica on July 31. Listen to Jim Wogan’s podcast interview with Fr. Carter and Dcn. Gaspar about this process.
Invitation

Diocesan Postulator; and presentation of documents for the archive. The events continued with a sung Mass for the Dead for a Priest, offered for Fr. Patrick Ryan. At the conclusion of that Mass, the officials of the new Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Knoxville were sworn in, and Fr. David Carter was re-installed as pastor of The Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Gloria Dei Schola sang the service and the Mass as well as an interlude of sacred motets, and the Basilica’s recently completed pipe organ was played in full.
Watch the full VIDEO that was taken of the 9/28/20 First Session proceedings
PROGRAM for 9/28/20 Fr. Patrick Ryan First Session
READINGS for 9/28/20 Mass for the Dead for Fr. Patrick Ryan

Inquiry begins into Fr. Ryan sainthood cause (Article by East Tennessee Catholic – 10/14/20)

Genesis of the Cause for Fr. Patrick Ryan – A homily given by Dcn. Gaspar DeGaetano, Diocesan Postulator 09-27-20: 26th Sun OT A

Honoring the Life of Fr. Patrick Ryan

Father Patrick Ryan, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul’s parish from 1872 to 1878, was a shepherd who gave his life in ministering to his flock. He died a martyr’s death in the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 when he was only 33 years old.

 

A magnificent tribute was paid the noble priest in 1886, when his remains were reburied in Mt. Olivet cemetery. One of the longest corteges ever seen in Chattanooga, as of 1952, followed his body to the new cemetery on the other side of Missionary Ridge before there was even a tunnel through the ridge. Imagine the effort and time it took to make the trip up the ridge in those horse and buggy days!

Patrick Ryan was born in 1845 near Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland. He was of a good family, but his parents were evicted from their home by a ruthless landlord and forced to emigrate. They settled in New York, where Patrick grew to young manhood.

In pursuance of his desire to be a priest he entered St. Vincent’s college, Cape Girardeau, Missouri in October, 1866, Although he was no genius, says one of his schoolmates, he was one of the soundest and most reliable students in the seminary and was noted for his common sense. He excelled in athletics, and few could equal him in hand ball.

He was ordained a priest in the summer of 1869 at the Cathedral in Nashville by Bishop P. A. Feehan. The Feehan and Ryan families were close neighbors in Ireland and possibly this was the reason young Ryan decided to join the Nashville diocese.

After his ordination, Father Ryan was appointed pastor of Clarksville and its missions. For three years the young priest faithfully ministered to the people of Clarksville, Cedar Hill, Edgefield Junction and the surrounding territory. At Gallatin he built a church, which served the congregation for many years.

About this time, Chattanooga, in a race for commercial prosperity, threatened to outstrip all the second class cities of Tennessee.

Bishop Feehan, cognizant of the prudence and priestly zeal of Father Ryan, transferred him to the larger field of labors in Chattanooga. He took charge on July 10, 1872.

He is described as almost impetuous in his efforts to make his parishioners practical as well as professing Catholics. Having recovered somewhat from the ravages of war, Chattanooga was growing by leaps and bounds. In the decade from 1870-1880, the population increased from 6,093 to 12,892.

Finding the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Chattanooga:

Address:  214 E. 8th Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402

Tel: +1 423-266-1618